October 7, 2022

mid-tier crisis

How to Reject an Accounting Firm’s Offer

Welcome to the de minimis edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a young accountant wants to know how to reject a firm in the most professional way possible. Is it best to give them the Band-aid™ treatment or can you simply not call and hope they get the hint?

Are you surrounded by idiots? Worried your firm is morphing into something undesirable? Thinking of giving it all up for a shot a culinary immortality? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll help you become the next Ray Kroc.

Returning to the rejector:

Dear GC,

I have two FT offers from mid-size firms. I know which offer I want to accept but my question is what is the best/most professional way to “reject” the other firm? Is it better to call or email them and how should I word it?

These two firms are competitors and they both know I have interned with the other. My second question is should I try to leverage the firm I want to accept from and negotiate a higher starting salary? I’m not sure I even want to bother if there is a possibility of “burning any bridges” with either firm if I’d only get an extra grand or two. I just graduated and this is my first time in this situation. Any advice from you or the GC community would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Newbie

Dear Newbie,

Here’s the thing – rejecting a firm isn’t like rejecting a human being. They don’t have feelings so don’t be afraid to be honest. Sure the person you speak to may sound disappointed but trust me when I say that they’ve heard it all before. That said, sending them an email with an image of your photocopied ass attached is not advisable. Your message can be communicated by either phone call or email and can give as little or as much detail as you like. You can keep it vague, “I’ve decided to accept another offer,” decline any pressing by your rejectee or you can go into detail, “I chose Firm A because [insert reason],” as long as you don’t feel like this is your opportunity to share thoughts on everything that is wrong with their firm. The person listening to you will appreciate your honesty and you can feel good that you’ve kept a professional decorum throughout the process.

What you don’t do, is this:

I recently learned [a recruit] cancelled his second round interview with us- said he broke his ankle and went to the ER- but was seen out partying that same night by one of our former interns.

This was sent to Adrienne by an HR professional at a firm regarding a potential recruit. Granted, this person may not have gotten an offer to begin with but considering the tact involved with this rejection, the firm is better without this loser.

As for trying to use one firm against the other to leverage a higher salary, this is hardly the time in your career to play hardball over your salary.

Bottom line is that you can reject a firm in a direct. professional manner and who knows, the contact may serve you in the future when/if your current situation doesn’t pan out. Or you can be ‘fraidy cat and tell them your mother is sick and you’re re-examining your life choices. That will your professionalism somewhere in between toddler and pre-pubescence. Choose wisely.

Jeremy Newman Would Prefer if the Big 4 Would Just ‘Allow Real Competition’ But Regulatory Action Will Do Just Fine, Thank You

Perpetual fusspot and BDO Global CEO Jeremy Newman has not been shy about how unfair he thinks the dominance of the Big 4 is. The majority of his blog posts are tagged “Global Accounting” and several consist of bellyaching about Big 4 this and the Big 4 that. Of course, since the mainstream media has finally picked up on the idea that the concentration of auditors could be a bit of a problem, Newman has lots of articles to jump from and since the UK’s Office of Fair Trade has said something needs to be done about this, he had another opportunity this week:

Under the headline “Antitrust watchdog urges reform to break audit grip of Big Four” the FT states:

“Regulatory action may be required to break the dominant grip of the Big Four accounting firms on UK audits of leading companies…”

The only word I would challenge is “may” – it should say “will”.

Presumably this article was in the print edition because Newman doesn’t link to it but suffice to say he’s concluded that the government needs to either break up the Fab 4 like Yoko Ono or put some laws in place that mandates non-Big 4 firm inclusion. Either way, Newman laments to the Big 4 that it doesn’t have to be this way:

At long last it seems that something might now be done to open up the audit market. It is a shame it has taken so long and that it will require regulatory intervention – though it is not too late for my colleagues in the Big Four, and others, to act on a voluntary basis to create the environment necessary to allow real competition.

Judging by the statements from the firms, they seem more or less going along with it but these firms aren’t conscientious objectors. Don’t expect them to play nice.

I Hate it When People Say “I Told You So” But… [BDO]